Your Pets and The 4th of July; Fourth of July Safety for Dogs and Cats

Originally published: July 3, 2014
Updated: December 29, 2014 at 11:23 am

Summer Edition – Barks & and Bits

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including the four-legged members of the household. While it may seem like a great idea to reward Rover with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality many dogs, and even a few cats, get spooked from the loud explosive sounds of celebratory fireworks.

Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.

It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.

First and foremost: Never use fireworks around pets!

Exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger if ingested. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.

Also loud, crowded public fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home – you should never leave your pet outside on this holiday! The urge too run away from the explosions causes more animal loss then any other time of year.

Some dogs, may even dig, chew, or climb their way too what they believe to be freedom from the noises. I always recommend that your pet get micro-chipped, god forbid they should run away — you will have a better chance of getting the back home safe and sound.

Often overlooked when planning a party is that alcoholic drinks poison pets. They can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.

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So what if you have a nervous, anxiety prone pet? I had a dog years ago that was so frightened with thunder and fireworks. I had to take him into the bathroom turn on the fan, holding him wrapped tightly in a towel while he drooled and trembled. I felt helpless, at the time I feared he would have a heart attack.

His whole 17 years was spent dreading Summer.

What I learned is you don’t have too live this way, neither does your pet! There are plenty of ways too make your pet feel secure during this holiday.

First, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day so later he will sleep easier later.

A sweater called the Thunder Jacket is worn by your dog and the snug fit helps him/her feel secure. Much like hiding under a blanket. It is really the kindest way to ease your dog’s fears.

You can always turn on the AC keep a television going to drown the outside noises. Many pets feel secure just sitting closed in a bathroom. Just be sure you leave your dog something fun to do while alone.

There are all natural calming drops on the market that do work quite well. But as with any medication, herbal, or over the counter please check with your Vet first.

As a last resort there is a drug called Ace. It has a Valium effect and will settle the dogs nerves, but not all dogs do well with this drug so I would speak too your vet if it is right for your pet.

Through the year some people have found that getting a Thunder CD and playing it on repeat for short intervals helps to desensitize the pet too loud noises.

How do you keep your pets safe and calm during the holidays? Comment below.

Wishing you and your canine and feline households a safe holiday.

Signing off now from Barks and Bits

Editors Note: This article was submitted by: Debbie from Eastern Long Island. Debbie has raised dogs for over 20 years and loves all animals, large and small.
We hope you find Barks and Bits useful. If you have any pet related questions leave Debbie a comment and be sure to share this page with other pet owners.

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